The Schuster Tea is technically a “full tea,” which includes savories (little sandwiches, which most people think of as being part of afternoon tea), scones, and sweets; whereas in British parlance “high tea” is a working man’s dinner that includes hot dishes.
Quibbling aside, the Schuster Mansion’s tea was very nice, and served us adequately for dinner, since we were running off to the theatre directly from there. The “February-March-April” menu (it changes quarterly--) consisted of cucumber and chive sandwiches, ham and radish sandwiches, and “tuna kitties”, which were tuna salad on dark rye bread which had been cut out in cat shapes. The scones were rosemary and cheddar, and the pastries included cream puffs with hazelnut cream; “compote bloom”, a small fruit tart; and “Raspberry Pavlovos” (sic), which is a typo for pavlova, a meringue with fruit.
All the foods were well prepared and delicious. We had the option to sample seven flavors of tea, which were all premium teas from Harney & Sons. I tried “Tower of London,” a black tea with bergamot (basically Earl Grey) but flavored with honey also, and “Valentine”, a flavored black tea with rose and chocolate. Georgie had “Paris”, a black tea with lemon bergamot, black currant, vanilla and caramel, and the “Peaches and Ginger” black tea. The teas were very pleasant, tending to be a bit lighter on the flavoring elements than some other brands.
The hostess, who dressed for the occasion, handled all the serving for twenty, no light task, but also gave an entertaining talk covering the history of tea, the history of the house, and a preview of her fall talk on Victorian attitudes toward death, which contained both fact and fable.
This was a very pleasant afternoon’s outing, with very good company as well.
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